Thursday, March 3, 2011

Theme, Character, and the Transformational Arc

Do movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Black Swan or shows like Damages and Mad Men blow your mind, but you can’t quite put your finger on why they do?  One possible factor is their ironclad grip on theme.  Dissect the ways in which theme can be thoroughly explored with screenwriter and story consultant Tawnya Bhattacharya in Theme, Character and the Transformational Arc. Tawnya will analyze one film and one television show through their themes, then walk you through a theme progression map that will allow you to chart theme in your own story. 

Theme, Character and the Transformational Arc
Why we walk away from some movies and TV episodes feeling nothing and how you can avoid making the same mistakes
With Tawnya Bhattacharya
WHEN: Tuesday, March 29th from 7:00-9:00
WHERE: The Writers Junction, 1001 Colorado Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90401
There will only be space for 35, so reserve your spot today!

Theme is an essential ingredient in storytelling. It is the foundation on which your story is built - the spine, the core, the heart and soul. Theme gives depth and meaning to action and purpose to characters. It connects us emotionally and makes us care.  Though theme is one of the most important components in screenwriting, many writers struggle with it and it's often the first thing to go missing in a script. That's no surprise. A difficult animal to explain, it's rarely touched upon in books and courses beyond 'it is the moral of the story and the lesson learned.' While this is true, it's merely a jumping off point. 

Theme is the essence of your unique voice. It's what you have to say to the world. It is your bold perspective. It's your opportunity to take a stand and offer a distinct point of view. Whatever you believe in your bones about life and the human condition, say it strongly with theme and a flat piece of writing will become a powerful one. Theme is a mirror, it's your chance to show us all how to be better people, how to live a better life, either through example or cautionary tale. 

In this workshop, Tawnya will demystify theme and explain how writers can implement theme in their stories and make them resonate universally and have greater emotional impact. She will cover how theme is carried through the protagonist, ways of expressing theme visually, in dialogue, through action, conflict and opposing values, how to arc your characters through the journey in a feature screenplay or reflect theme in your TV specs and pilots with your A, B and C story.

About Tawnya Bhattacharya:
Tawnya Bhattacharya was a distinguished writing instructor at Writers Boot Camp for many years before launching her story consultancy company, SCRIPT ANATOMY. Through classes and individual consults, she has helped hundreds of writers at various levels create, develop and elevate their projects to the next level.

A working screenwriter, her TV pilot "Grand Coulee," was one of six scripts selected for the FOX Writer's Initiative and her "Nurse Jackie" spec, written with her writing partner, got the team into NBC's Writers On The Verge. She has a TV pilot optioned by FOX, several optioned features, including with one of the producers of "Go" and another being packaged by CAA, as well as numerous writing assignments under her belt. She and her writing partner are currently in development with a seasoned producer with their original pilot, BULLET. 

For more about Tawnya and Script Anatomy, visit

 “She strikes the perfect balance between supportive and honest, always offering nuts-and-bolts solutions along with her insightful feedback.”
There are a lot of different screenwriting theories out there.  Tawnya’s well-rounded background as both a screenwriter and writing instructor allows her to pick the most useful bits from the most successful approaches and put them to work making a good script great.  Her dry sense of humor makes her a natural for comedy, but she’s just as comfortable with an action setpiece or a character drama.  And her experience in front of the camera gives her first-hand knowledge about how to write pages that engage actors.  She’s strikes the perfect balance between supportive and honest, always offering nuts-and-bolts solutions along with her insightful feedback.   — Kevin Lee Miller, screenwriter with an optioned feature at Sony, Grand Prize Winner Final Draft Big Break Competition; 2-Time Winner, Worldfest-Houston Int’l Film Festival

“Tawnya is extremely knowledgeable and supportive and I recommend her to anyone seeking a teacher.”
What sets Tawnya apart from other teachers I’ve had is her unmatched enthusiasm for the art and craft of writing. She has a deep understanding of what makes stories work, and is great at communicating that to her students. Her class was always warm and open, but also very focused. People were encouraged to speak up, but if things got off topic, she would get everyone focused on writing again. Tawnya is extremely knowledgeable and supportive and I recommend her to anyone seeking a teacher. — Kiyong Kim, 2010-2011 Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship recipient

“Tawnya was the best screenwriting instructor I could have asked for.”
Tawnya was the best screenwriting instructor I could have asked for. I am certainly a better writer  for having had her as my teacher and am very lucky to have her continued support. She has a wonderful ability to get to the heart of storytelling with clear insight and determined precision. She has a no-nonsense style with a nurturing heart. I endorse her teaching one hundred percent.   – Wendy B., Screen & TV Writer

 “Tawnya Bhattacharya is like a screenwriting personal trainer.”
Everyone has an idea. But to turn that idea into a 100-page screenplay takes dedication, discipline and hours of work. Tawnya Bhattacharya is like a screenwriting personal trainer. She’ll help you to whip that underdeveloped 98-pound weakling of an idea into a full-blown feature-length commercial screenplay. You’ll love the results.    – Tim Grant, Optioned Screenwriter & Blogger @ Post-Mortem Depression

“If you really want to learn what it takes to craft story, you’d be hard pressed to find a better instructor.”
Tawnya is an outstanding screenwriter and instructor.  Period. I can honestly say if you really want to learn what it takes to craft story you’d be hard pressed to find a better teacher.  Tawnya’s approach, input and critiques are both insightful and astute.  No matter what, she gives it to you straight.  And in this business a straight talker is a rare gem.    – David Angel Rodriguez, TV & Screenwriter

1 comment:

  1. The journey and transformation progress in tendem - see